---Gatineau fuel-heating conversion aid plan: first-come, first-served with limited program
Certain Gatineau residents will be able to save money by switching from fuel-based home heating systems to electrical ones, thanks to a recently adopted regulation by the city. Titled the Programme de remplacement de systèmes de chauffage au mazout, it states that residents interested in converting their heating systems from fuel-based to electric can receive subsidies of up to $3,500 to do so. Aimed at funding up to 75 per cent of the cost, the average price to do such a procedure is approximately $5,000. With an initial $75,000 budget, nearly 20 property owners will be able to take advantage of the program in its first year.
Starting in 2021, the program will have an annual budget of $25,000, allowing it to assist approximately seven property owners per year. Subsidies will be allocated on a first-come first-served basis. Those interested in benefiting from the program can request assistance via the city’s website.
To be eligible for the program, homes must be located within a perimeter defined by the programme de Rénovation Québec (PRQ), not have a universal fuel-oil heating system and must not be subject to a financial assistance request from programs like Chauffez vert et Rénoclimat administers by Transition Énergique Québec.
More information about the PRQ, including the criteria for eligibility and sector-specific mapping, is available on the Gatineau website. It states that the work must by undertaken by a Régie du Bâtiment du Québec certified entrepreneur and involve the installation of brand-new equipment for an electrically-fed heating system.
According to a press release issued by the city of Gatineau on September 22, the program is part of a resurgence of the city’s programme de soutien aux écogestes de la Ville – an initiative to make Gatineau more ecological by favouring renewable energy. As the program’s first action to fight climate change, Aylmer district councillor Audrey Bureau – who proposed the program when she arrived in office in 2017 – said it may expand into other ways of protecting the environment in the future and invited residents to send their ideas to the city.
Plateau councillor Maude Marquis-Bissonnette said the program is a great way of showing the city’s dedication to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions, calling on residents to contact the city for a subsidy. “It’s a great gesture for the environment,” Marquis-Bissonnette said.
Noting that light fuel-oil in residential buildings is three times less efficient than natural gas and five times less efficient than electricity, it also emanates 45 per cent more greenhouse gas emissions than natural gas and 1,300 more than electricity.
Lucerne councillor Gilles Chagnon also praised the program, stating that Gatineau’s municipal representatives are very sensitive to protecting the environment. Gatineau’s municipal council adopted to financially support residents wanting to convert their home heating systems with electrical ones back on March 17.